The Nick Of Time
(and other abrasions)
Shadows Of Polaris
Al Bruno III
Jason Magwier remembered because the memories were all that he had, even when they were unpleasant, even when they were wrong. He remembered how even now the Regent would be organizing an expeditionary force tasked with tearing Harnett's Tabernacle apart brick by brick, and then to grind those bricks into powder. But there was time to fetch Audra and get away, Jason Magwier was almost certain. He scratched idly at the bandage near his ribs, the place where he had been stabbed. The blade had scraped against bone, doing little real damage but hurting like Hell. A few inches in either direction and he'd have been done for. Jason didn't like to think about that. ...but sometimes I do die and every time the Heirophant
laughs a little harder... He shook his head trying to clear it. Lorelei stood beside him, gazing at the dead bear. "I thought," she began, "I thought all the bears had been culled. The Regent's proclamation-" "They missed this one didn't they? She was old, old and cunning enough to evade the hunters and the traps." Jason put his arm around Lorelei. She leaned into him, "Until tonight." "Until tonight." They started walking again, shell casings and snow crunching under foot. Heading for the Tabernacle and skirting around the blood and the bodies. One of the shapes made Lorelei pause, "I don't believe it." Jack Diamond was spread eagle in the snow, blood ran down from his nostrils and one of his eyes was swollen shut. His canon of a pistol was just out of reach. Jason picked it up and examined it with a bemused expression on his face, "They might say that a man with a handgun this large was overcompensating for something." "How can you joke about this?" Lorelei snatched the pistol from his hand and took aim at the prone figure, "We've got this bastard right where we want him. After all the misery he's caused us, after what he did to my mother..." "You can't kill a man in cold blood." "You don't think so? You sure?" Lorelei's finger tightened on the trigger, "Can you remember how many lives will suffer at his hands in the future? Consider this a pre-emptive strike." ..."Bastard. You knew that would happen didn't
you?"... Lorelei pulled the trigger, the empty chamber clicked. Cursing under her breath she threw the pistol as far into the woods as she could. "Bastard. You knew that would happen didn't you?" "His sins will find their punishment in due time." Jason took her by the hand and led her to the Tabernacle. Somehow the darkness that pooled around the ruins seemed deeper, more lush. By the time they had reached the building itself they were forced to grope and fumble their way to the entrance. "I knew I forgot something." Jason said as he felt his way along the wall, remembering where he would find the door. Lorelei asked "What's that?" "This." He pulled a penlight from his jacket pocket. He swept the tiny beam across the twin doors. "You had that all along? You dork!"
They pale circle of light found Audra sitting with her back against the far wall. She was turning a wallet over and over in her hands.
yet you Audra were probably the closest thing he had to real friend in
a number of things." Jason urged her to follow, "Come on then, we'd
best get moving."
waiting." "He wont leave us." "That's not what I'm worried about." Lorelei nodded with understanding "So how is he going to get us back in the City anyway?" "He knows the way to the tunnel on